Unseasonably cold temperatures, low stream flows for hydropower production, transmission import constraints and high natural gas constraints are putting pressure on the regional electricity system.
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is taking steps to increase power supplies and reduce consumer demand to keep the federal power system operating smoothly and support regional reliability. BPA supplies power to Umatilla Electric, Hermiston Energy Services and other regional utilities.
“It’s always a good idea to use electricity wisely, and it’s even more important when supplies are tight,” says Elliot Mainzer, BPA administrator. As temperatures are forecast to remain unseasonably cool across much of the region through the first week of March, BPA is asking customers to reduce energy use when possible to relieve stress on the power system.
“It’s supposed to be sunny over the next three days, so we’re asking customers to open their shades on south-facing windows and use the natural warmth of the sun to help heat their home,” said Snohomish County Public Utility District spokesperson Aaron Swaney.
“We’re also asking them to turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees to give their furnace a break.” “With regional weather continuing to be colder and snowier than usual, we always appreciate efforts by energy consumers to reduce their energy usage whenever possible,” Mark Johnson, Flathead Electric Cooperative general manager.
Tips for saving energy can be found here.
As the nation’s single largest supplier of carbon-free hydroelectricity, BPA takes its responsibilities to the region very seriously and is prepared to manage through all water conditions.
BPA and its federal partners are tracking the low streamflow conditions in the Columbia and Snake river basins and will continue to explore various options for meeting the power needs of customers while upholding regional environmental stewardship obligations.